Freedom: big and not so big

Freedom. What a complex word. There are big freedoms: slaves–historic and current–risking their lives in their search for freedom from subjugation and bondage, women in too many countries around the world struggling to break free of suppressive religious and cultural chains, victims of intolerance–sexual orientation, religious or political–struggling for the freedom and right to express their personal ideas and opinions, and the freedoms granted by our citizenship to express our ideas and opinions through speech and written word.

There are the not so big (in a numerical sense,) but equally as important freedoms: the freedom to be able to act according to one’s true character without being coerced or subjected to the controlling influence of others, the freedom a woman experiences when regaining herself after a controlling marriage is over, and that of the once abused child who finds the freedom from fear in safety.

Freedom. It is a word that has interesting synchronicity with the deeply embedded theme of this seasons Jewish holiday, Passover. Each spring, families gather together around a Seder table to retell the story of a people seeking freedom from unbearable persecution. The relevance is as poignant now as it was thousands of years ago. It is a theme –deliverance from persecution– that has been repeated throughout history, and sadly continues to be prevailant today. In our lifetimes there are horrific examples of people denied freedom in Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Bosnia. The continued violation of human rights in Syria and North Korea and other nations around the world fill the newspapers each day.

Freedom. It is the most critical expression of humanism. It is our responsibility to retell the stories of people historically denied freedom and it is our responsibility to keep forefront an awareness of people who, today, are still denied this most basic of rights.  It our responsibility to refuse to let violations of freedom within our personal environment go unaddressed.  We have the freedom to speak and we have the freedom granted to us through writing to make a difference.   It is our responsibility to use our freedoms to help others attain theirs.

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4 thoughts on “Freedom: big and not so big

  1. Thanks for the feedback Brian. A life of political activism and involvement in grassroots movements has affirmed my believe we each really do have a part to play and each of use can be an effective voice. One of my daughters has told me I will always be a 60s hippie and I wear the label with pride.

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  2. I appreciate the idea of responsible freedom– that meaning we have the responsibility to live freely without doing harm, as well as, and maybe more importantly, to speak up for the others whose freedom has been denied. It reminds me that our freedom is fragile, especially when others are not free. We must protect freedom for all, and not live blindly to the people and ideas that exist and threaten freedom.

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  3. Well said! Whether the freedoms or big or small, they matter to the person or persons affected, so in their minds, it’s a big deal. Having recently acquired my own freedom from an oppressive situation, this post speaks to me.

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